Most days as we go through life we encounter manual handling in some shape or form. Everyday we lift, push or pull items which can be straining on our bodies especially if it’s done incorrectly.
Manual handling tasks range from very simple to hazardous tasks involving lifting, lowering, pushing, carrying, holding or restraining something. Hazardous tasks also involve repetitive movement, repetitive or sustains force, high or sudden force, sustained or awkward postures and exposure to vibration.
The below statistic show that manual handling in the workplace is still a major cause for concern.
Statistic and Research (Safework Australia)
43,555 serious claims were lodged in 2014-15 for body stressing
10% of all serious body stressing claims are lodged by labourers
8,500 serious claims for body stressing were lodged by employees in the health care and social assistance industry
We all know the phrase “bend with your knees, not your back” and try to follow it as best possible however manual handling processes are much more important and in depth especially in a workplace where any of the above mentioned tasks are carried out.
Employers have a duty of care and are obligated to ensure a safe working environment. Implementation of effective Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) and Job Safety Environmental Analyses (JSEA) are key to creating a safe work environment.
Employees also have a responsibility to ensure safe manual handling processes are followed. Training is often provided to employee of companies who perform hazardous and manual tasks.
Regardless of your occupation manual handling is important, you may work in an office and refer to yourself as a pencil pusher, you could be a labourer doing repetitive task day in and day out or you may not be active in the workforce but lift a small or not so small child on a regular basis.